Photographer Kevin Wong is deeply immersed in the final stages of an historical photo-journal project near and dear to his heart. It is a collection of stories and candid portraits of people who live on or near Route 66 as it passes through the East Mojave Desert. Kevin’s portraits and stories will be compiled into a book entitled, “Route 66 – The Mojave Experience.”
These remote locations which include Ludlow, Amboy, Cadiz, Chambless, Goffs, Fenner, and Needles, once enjoyed their share of the many migrations of the American people until the emergence of the modern interstate in the early 70s. Now, the remaining populations along this route are mere relics of the most famous road in American history.
“The concept is very simple, Kevin explained. “I set up a mobile portrait studio in these small, almost deserted Mojave Desert communities (a total of 105 miles from East to West) and offer to take portraits and record any stories the participants may have about the about life on the ‘Mother Road’ (term coined by John Steinbeck).”
“Along the way I have met a 94 year old woman in Needles who settled there in 1943; a local historian who has recorded over 1,000 oral histories of the residents of the East Mojave, including settlers, ranchers and miners, and 100 motorcyclists from Ireland who rode the entire Route 66 in eight days from Chicago to Santa Monica, raising money for the Temple Hospital in Dublin.” See more portraits in his photo gallery: “Roadside Portrait Series” .
Kevin Wong is regular artist at LQAF’s “Art Under the Umbrellas” shows at Old Town La Quinta.